The 1934 Gillette Aristocrat
This week I would like to take a look at and discuss another one of the unique shavers to the wet shaving world, the grand looking 1934 Gillette Aristocrat.
Ever enthusiastic to improve its products, the Gillette Safety Razor Company launched its One Piece style (known as the Aristocrat model) for the Christmas season of 1934. It was produced until 1940.
The tried and true Aristocrat model was chosen for the One Piece debut, for the intended success of the respected premiere model could pave the way for later introductions of other, lower-priced models. The Aristocrat at this stage was offered for its high-tech improvements as well as the elegance displayed in the 1920s and early 1930s, and was sold in “heavy gold plate” at a price of $4. The razor was packaged in a leather covered, satin lined case with ten Blue Blades in a matching metal box. The razor featured the distinctive “barber pole” handle knurling reminiscent of the Old Type Bulldog razor.
An early advertisement for the Aristocrat One Piece showed three illustrations of the new device. The first caption read, “A Twist To Open!” The second read, “Drop In Blade.” The final caption read, “Twist It, It’s Closed!”
Revolutionary in design, the Aristocrat is all one piece. No loose parts, nothing to take down. A twist of the handle opens the cap like a trap door to remove or replace the blade. Another twist locks it in perfect position for shaving.
The early Aristocrat did not come with end caps nor was the center bar notched at this time and the razor itself weighed in at 2.3 oz.
As you can see the early version of the 34’ Aristocrat came with no end caps but did show the rivet work showing the jointing. As shown below, near the end of it’s run the 34’ Aristocrat shows up still with no end caps but there are also no visible rivets showing.
The Aristocrat was guaranteed for life. It was built to watchmaker’s standards, every part tested by dozens of different precision gauges costing thousands of dollars which was a lot in the day. This insured smooth operation for a lifetime use. Tested by a special mechanical device, the Aristocrat renders the equivalent of 1000 years and more of service.
An up-scaled version was also offered. It is the some razor however, it come in a Gold Tone metal case with matching blade box.
A very interesting feature of the Aristocrat is that a slight twist of the handle adjusts it to the special requirements of your beard. The cap is self-aligning, flexes the blade more uniformly – clamps it at just the right angle. These features, coupled with wider guard teeth of new design provide greater safety and a more comfortable shave.
I find this to be a wonderful shaving razor. It does provide a nice clean smooth shave. One that is very comfortable and I would say it is of a medium aggresiveness.
If you enjoy open comb razors and like the ease of the TTO, I would say you owe it to yourself to hunt down and give one of these beautiful pieces of history a try.
Here is my SOTD for today 12/14/2008
Information and pictures have been collected from various sources including the net, (mr razors page), Thank you Achim. The Complete Gillette Collectors Handbook, By Phillip L. Krumholz, The B&B Wiki and my personal photos, thoughts and opinions (which may not be a reflection of the management).
Any and all information about this razor is more than welcomed.
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